We all know that regular physical exercise, in fact mental too, is good for you. Yes, you heard correctly. I am saying that training for an athletic event can be compared to running a business. More specifically, a small business of less than 10 people. I am pretty sure it applies to bigger companies too but I cannot confirm that.
I have been active since I started playing sport at junior school and recently got into more long distance events such as cycling events longer than 100km. Most recently, I signed up for a half iron-man distance triathlon.
At the same time as doing all this physical exercise (up to 5 days a week), I am running my own business. One late afternoon when running, it dawned on me that these 2 endeavours are actually quite similar. It was a wet, fairly cold afternoon run but I loved it!
So there I was, running in my triathlon suit, which happens to look like a cow (that is another story) and these are the similarities that I have found.
Wet weather training is necessary:
- One afternoon, I was not keen to do any sort of physical exercise, let alone running, because it was raining. She turned around and gave me a look that said “yes, and…?” I went anyway.
- Business is the same. When that client phones with a query, no matter how trivial, you have to go and sort it out.
- Business happens in both good and bad times, early and late in the day (or night).
- When you do not want to do it, you have to do it anyway. Despite what it feels like it at the time, it will benefit you in the long run.
There are uphills (not so good times) and downhills (good times):
- Ups and downs are the way of life when running a business, that is a given. It is how you deal with them that makes the difference.
- I don’t like uphills when running but when cycling, I excel at climbing them.
- The critical point here is to plan for the uphills when you are on the downhills. Many businesses collapse shortly after a downhill because they did not plan for the next uphill.
The trees help:
- One of my running routes has a lot of low hanging trees. This can be annoying at times but when running in the rain the other day, it was not. Why? Because when my head hit the leaves, the water on them ran onto my head and cooled me down.
- In business, you get these moments when a client (or anyone) gives you a compliment or says thank you and it makes the world of difference.
- Again, it depends on how you look at it – positive or negative.
- When it is a blazing hot day, the very same trees give some respite from the heat.
Measure your efforts:
- Technology has come along in leaps and bounds in exercise tracking / measuring. I use a GPS watch that tracks everything and anything you could imagine.
- This is a critical tool because I use it to measure my efforts along the way. I use speed (min/km) to judge this. It allows me to know how hard (or not) I am pushing. I can either go faster or slow down, if necessary.
- Your efforts have to be measured in business, otherwise you will have no idea what works (and what does not).
- I have heard from people that they just keep working and don’t seem to get anything out of the effort.
- This is because they do not measure what they are doing. They do not know what works and what does not.
- This is a simple (and yet difficult) aspect to change. A simple change can make an infinite difference.
There are so many parallels between business and your daily activities. We have to use these lessons and apply them to our business and our lives to gain the most out of them.